Crest Ink - Volume 31 - Number 02

Jeff Roop Advances to State Level Officiating by Cheri Kemp The sound of tennis shoes skidding and screeching on cement, blacktop or gym floors and whistles blowing are sounds that are music to the ears of Jeff Roop. From pickup games in his driveway with his brothers and friends to grade school and high school bas-

ketball, Jeff Roop has always had the love of the game. Not one to talk about himself or his accomplishments, it was easy to see the love of what Jeff does in his spare time, and his commitment to the youth as we talked about his 19 years of officiating basketball. For Jeff, one of three boys in his family, himself a father to three boys and now a grandfather to three boys and three girls, sports has been a large part of his life. Jeff mentioned that in the year 2000, when his youngest son decided as a freshman in high school, not to play basketball, Jeff needed to find something to do with his time. No longer spending several nights a week sitting in the bleachers watching one son or another play basketball, Jeff de- cided to jump from the bleachers to the floor and become a referee. “To become a referee I had to pass an open book test and attend clinics through the White Pines Officials Associa- tion as well as becoming Registered as an official; Recognized as an official; and Certified as an official. It is truly on the job training. You are thrown onto the floor to start officiating at games.” (I imagine there are plenty of bleacher referee’s willing to help an official learn the ropes!) “The first three or four years I officiated grade school basketball and freshman basketball. By about the fifth year I moved into strictly high school basketball. “I probably officiated at 60 games per season early on but for the last four or five years only 30 to 40 games per season. I can pick and choose when I want to ref or not. Each year I have to use the associations’ basketball schedule website to block out certain dates that I do not want to ref, like for my wife’s birthday! For the dates that I do not block out, I might have to referee a game as far north as the Wisconsin border; south to Putnam County, east to Kaneland and west to Port Byron. So it is a pretty large area that I may need to travel. Some nights I might referee two games, other nights just one but there is virtually games going on several nights of the week. I began officiating at both girls and boys basketball games but now do just girls basketball.” I asked Jeff if he referees games for Ashton-Franklin Center (AFC) since that is our local school as well as where Jeff and his children all went to school. In our small, rural setting, everybody knows everybody, pretty much. Jeff said he will referee an Ashton-Franklin Center game, or an Amboy game (another small community in our back yard) but “I will not referee a game between AFC & Amboy. I know too many people from both towns. That would not be a good idea.” What drives Jeff to continue on as a referee? “Well, I set a goal 19 years ago when I decided to get into this, to go ‘down state’”. By that Jeff means he wanted to achieve the goal of being able to officiate State level games for high school girls teams that made it through the Regionals; Sectionals; Super Sectionals and on to play for the State Championship. These games are held in Redbird Arena at Illinois State University in Normal, IL. To be able to be considered for the basketball games that are above the local level, a person has to register on the official website to show an interest in officiating at the Regional; Sectional; Super Sectional or State Level. “I have achieved that goal!” Some officials go 30 to 35 years and never get the opportunity to go to State. It is a great experience. I wish every one could experience that. The level of play of these young people who make it to State makes our job easy. I was

12 Crest Ink April, May & June 2019

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